For The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -Missouri junior linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is racking up so many tackles he sometimes loses count.
That's a good thing for a defense that got off to a rocky start but is making strides for the sixth-ranked Tigers (4-0), who are coming off a 42-21 victory over Buffalo on Saturday.
``We don't take winning for granted, but we still need to fix the little things,'' Weatherspoon said after the Buffalo game. ``I was just trying to make some plays for the team and I know I missed a few tackles so I need to work on that.''
Even so, he finished with 20 to earn Big 12 defensive player of the week. He has 48 tackles for the season - the most in the Big 12 and tied for second nationally. Eight have been for a loss. He also has three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Missouri has a bye this week and will need Weatherspoon and the defense at their best in the Tigers' Big 12 opener on Oct. 4 at Nebraska, where they haven't won in 30 years.
linebacker Brock Christopher likes the way Weatherspoon goes about his business.
``He's an animal and makes all kinds of plays and makes guys helmets come off,'' Christopher said.
Weatherspoon's play has been a bright spot on a defense that has shown improvement since giving up more than 500 yards and 42 points in the season-opening 52-42 win over Illinois.
Since then, the defense has moved from near the bottom nationally to the middle of the pack at No. 78. Fortunately for Missouri, the offense is averaging nearly 54 points per game.
Teammates and coaches say Weatherspoon's boisterous rallying of the troops is integral in the defensive unit's steady progression.
``He is a great kid, a great leader and is a lot of high energy,'' coach Gary Pinkel said. ``He's a good student and a great guy.''
Last season was Weatherspoon's first as a starter, and Pinkel said he's come a long way.
``He eventually turned into an All-Big 12 linebacker,'' the coach said. ``He was a better player each month and became one of our best defensive players, going from being an average player to a good player to being a great player by the time the (Big 12) championship game came around.''
Weatherspoon may not be keeping track of his tackles, but he isn't bashful about giving his teammates - especially the defensive backs - an earful about his other accomplishments.
ng from over near the dorms,'' quarterback Chase Daniel said. ``His goal for this season was six interceptions and he is already halfway there, and he lets the defensive backs hear about it, too.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly
SNOW on Tue, Mar 2017 by Michael Cash
EARLY COLL PLAYS FOR WED. on Wed, Mar 2017 by Timmy1961

NCAAF Headlines

  • (STATS) - Coming off its best record, Houston Baptist's young FCS program will kick off the 2017 season at Texas State and play four times at home as part of an 11-game schedule.
    The Huskies f...
  • JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) Ken Sparks, a football coach who won 338 games for Division II Carson-Newman to rank fifth on the NCAA's all-time list, has died. He was 73.
    Carson-Newman athletic ...
  • (STATS) - McNeese will play five home games and open the season with a conference matchup for the first time since 1975 as part of an 11-game 2017 schedule which was announced Wednesday.
    The C...
  • (STATS) - The rivalry matchup between Maine and New Hampshire has been moved up two days to Aug. 31 at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire.
    Traditionally the season-ending matchup between...
  • LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) An Arkansas House committee advanced a measure Tuesday to exempt college sporting events from a state law allowing guns after the Southeastern Conference appealed for guns t...

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Michigan vs. Florida Week 1 Odds One of the featured games in Week 1 of the College Football Season has two historic programs colliding when Michigan faces...
Thumbnail Updated National Championship Odds With over five months before kickoff of the new season, is Alabama still favored to win it all in 2018?
Thumbnail VA Tech opens as favorites vs WVU Some of the Week 1 lines have been released for college football and Virginia Tech has opened as a small favorite versus West Virginia.
Thumbnail Stanford QB on track for camp Stanford head coach David Shaw said that quarterback Keller Chryst is "right on schedule" for training camp.
Thumbnail Clemson has big challenge this spring The biggest question the defending national champion Clemson Tigers face this spring is who will replace leader Deshaun Watson at...

NCAAF Team Pages